PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
After reading The Dancer Dazzles Old Kentucky (May 11), I have come to the conclusion that you Americans just can't take a beating from a Canadian, even a horse. You aren't as prejudiced as other American publications I have read, but you still had to make excuses for Hill Rise. Since you say that the Dancer ran a terrific race, why can't you just simply say, "He won"?
Once again Whitney Tower proved a Thoroughbred of the sportswriters. Not once did he brag about picking the winner of the Derby.
I like Mr. Tower, but my bookie hates him.
Just out of curiosity I compared Tower's story of the Derby with his rating of the 2-year-olds last fall (Oct. 21). It is interesting to note that only five of the 26 horses he rated then ran in the Kentucky Derby and five ran in the Flamingo. It goes to show that a great 2-year-old will not necessarily become a great 3-year-old.
STACY B. RANKIN
Yellow Springs, Ohio
TWO AND TWO ARE THREE
I need some help in settling an argument over the age of the Kentucky Derby winner. My roommate says Northern Dancer is only 2 years old. I say he has to be 3 years old, because a 2-year-old can't run in the Derby. Who is right?
?Actually there were two "2-year-olds" in this year's Derby running: Northern Dancer (see page 26) and Roman Brother. Both were foaled May 27, 1961, unusually late in the year for Thoroughbreds. Thus at Derby time each was 25 days short of his actual third birthday. But since the official birthday of every racehorse is January 1, both rated as 3-year-olds. Only one other "2-year-old" can claim a Derby victory in the last 30 years: Belair Stud's Johnstown, who won by eight lengths on May 6, 1939, which was 16 days before he reached the actual age of 3 years. Triple Crown Winner War Admiral was also a May foal, but he won the 1937 Derby six days after his third birthday.—ED.
ON THE TABLE
The article Champ of the Chop and Loop (May 11) was very much appreciated here and received quite a bit of mention at our local table tennis club. Table tennis definitely does have followers, and I believe you will have to agree that they far exceed the "2,000 registered players" mentioned in the article. One indication was a tournament for junior players sponsored by a TV station in New York City. Witnesses say that more than 500 players participated, while many others were rejected.
I was fortunate enough to attend another tournament in Greenville, S.C. about six weeks ago. As I did not know anyone there I questioned some of the players to see if they were members of the national U.S. Table Tennis Association. They looked at me quite puzzled and said, "I never knew there was one!" This is amazing. Table tennis players from six or seven states were in attendance, the event was being held in a large, well-lighted YMCA gymnasium, playing conditions were excellent and a generally above-average caliber of play prevailed.
Good table tennis is something most people have never seen. Thanks to your recent recognition of it, the game may now get more of the spectators and players that it justly deserves.
BOWIE G. MARTIN
Barbara La Fontaine has outperformed all our expectations. Her article on the U.S. Open Table Tennis Championships isn't just good; as a player, I can tell you it is excellent.
J. RUFFORD HARRISON
U.S. Table Tennis Assoc.